Nov 15, 1995 03:17 AM
by Jerry Hejka-Ekins
>1.The passage in question mentions the Panchen Lama's "Master of
> Ceremonies" as being "one of our own rred Matmasis." It
> does not mention Sengchen Tulku or his successor. As you have
> admitted the identification of Sengchen Tulku to the above
> passage is a possibility among other possibilities but not a
I admitted no such thing. The Sengchen Tulku WAS the Master of
Ceremonies and there was no other. This from Das's testimony.
The question is which Sengchen we're talking about.
Now let's keep this entire discussion in perspective. You
earlier stated that the quote could be talking about Sengchen
Tulku his successor or a friend of the TS. Do I need to
retrieve the quotes where you stated this? If there are three
candidates for whom the quote refers to then that means three
possibilities. Therefore Sengchen Tulku is one of those
possibilities among two others you mentioned--and perhaps there
are still more.
> 2. Since we have as yet no definitive evidence that the title
> "Master of Ceremonies" refers to Sengchen Tulku his successor
> or as you mentioned a "friend of the T.S." this passage may
> very well have nothing to do with Sengchen Tulku at all.
How so? Let me repeat from TMR which paraphrases Das
Autobiography p. 63: "...he completely ignored his usual
duties of receiving pilgrims blessing images and amulets and
conducting ceremonies. In an ordinary two-week period Sengchen
would have given six thousand benedictions which only he and
the Panchen as avatars were qualified to perform."200
This doesn't leave any alternatives as far as I can see.
Because "Master of Ceremonies" is Olcott's parenthetical
comment not Das'. And you had already stated three
possibilities as to whom Olcott was referring to.
> But the passage you have in mind BCW III:398 does not
> specifically mention Sengchen Tulku.
Like the Olcott passage it describes him so specifically as to
exclude any other possibility. Your objections are as if I had
taken a reference to "the president from Arkansas" and another
reference to "Hillary's husband and Chelsea's father" as
identifying Bill Clinton and you were
insisting "It does NOT mention Bill Clinton by name therefore
you have no basis for identifying him." HPB calls him "the
Chohan-Lama of Rich-cha-tze Tibet the Chief of the
Archive-Registrars of the secret libraries of the Dalai and
Ta-shu-hlunpo Lamas-Riboche...A Pan-chchen or great teacher
one of the most learned theologians of Northern Buddhism and
esoteric Lamaism." Again from Das's account it is clear that
there was only one person who could give him access to those
libraries whose responsibilities connected him to both the
Dalai and Panchen Lamas etc.
I can make a connection between the "president from
Arkansas" and "Hillary's husband" under the present context.
However if I found the phrase "president from Arkansas" from
something written ten years ago then the meaning becomes very
unclear. You already mentioned that Olcott's reference is
unclear. HPB's is again under another context. Whether the
"Master of Ceremonies" Sengchen Tulku and the "Chief of the
Archive-Registrars" are all the same person is not clear to me
because I cannot assume a single context when I know that the
quotes come from different ones. Also I think there are some
very basic questions that need to be asked before making
identities. For instance I asked earlier exactly what is a
"Master of Ceremony" in 19th century Tibetan Buddhism? Is it a
specific reference to a specific office; a general reference to
several functions; A turn of phrase by Olcott etc.? Not being
particularly knowledable in Tibetan studies I would want to
consult with an authority or two on this issue before even
thinking about making the "clear" connections that you have.
> You didn't mention that HPB in the same passage also describes
> whoever she is talking about as a "`Panchhen' or great teacher
> one of our most learned theologians of Northern Buddhism and
> esoteric Lamaism" BCW III:398. This might fit Sengchen
> Tulku but it also might fit others. Your connections in TMR
> between whoever HPB and HSO are talking about which may very
> well be two different persons and Sengchen Tulku are
> circumstantial but not definitive.
The only reasonable basis that I can see for thinking that is
assuming that Das is unreliable. Olcott and HPB are on record
as considering him highly reliable.
I gave my reasons above snf they have nothing to do with
Das' reliability. One the other hand it is interesting that you
are using HSO and HPB' authority to endorse Das' reliability but
yet all through TMR HPB is giving disinformation.
> HPB mean Master by your's or her definition? How can you know?
> On the face of it I would think the title would mean a Lama
> with a very important position and a person of high status. I
> might speculate that HPB *might* also mean an Adept or a
> Mahatma They are not the same as HPB made clear but I see
> nothing to pin that speculation on. On the other hand even if
> by "Chohan Lama of Shigatse" HPB met "Master" it still doesn't
> mean that she was referring to Sengchen Tulku.
As I have repeatedly made clear any definition of Adept or
Mahatma that relies solely on imponderables like
"Fifth-Rounder" or other measures of spiritual stature would
render historical identification of them impossible. If no one
under any circumstances could prove anybody to be an Adept or
Mahatma by such standards then this objection seems to be a
"one size fits all" objection to any possible identification.
Mighty useful AGAINST any hypothesis but entirely useless FOR
First of all it is clear that HPB has a formal definition
of Mahatma that is very different from what you are proposing.
When HPB uses the word Mahatma she expects her reader to
understand the meaning of that word to be consistent with her
definition not yours. Second of all the "imponderables" do not
render historical identification impossible. Anna Kingsford was
specifically identified by HPB and in the Mahatma Letters as a
"fifth rounder." There is no question that Anna Kingsford was an
historical person regardless of her "imponderable" title. Oh
and by the way being a "fifth rounder" does not necessarily
identify a person as being a Mahatma. Though Kingsford was
called a fifth rounder she was never called a Mahatma.
The bottom line here concerning the title "Chohan Lama of
Shigatse" is that if you are going to call a person a Mahatma
because HPB did you need to be sure that by "Chohan Lama" she
means Master. Personally I don't think it does.
> So here is an example of building a speculation upon a
> speculation: HSO *might* be identifying Sengchen Tulku as a
*was* identifying either Losang Palden the Sengchen Lama of
1882 or his successor
Three possibilities is not definitive. One is.
HPB *might* be talking about the same person
*was* talking about Losang Palden
> *might* be referring to as a Mahatma.
*was* referring to as a Mahatma to the extent that one can be
identified by any historically observable traits-- e.g. a
recognized expert authority in an authentic spiritual tradition
to which HPB claimed affiliation
Therefore Sengchen Tulku
Once again under your definition any authority from whom
HPB gained information you make a Mahatma. Since HPB has an
entirely different definition what is a Mahatma to you may not
be a Mahatma to her.
> *might* be one of HPB's Mahatmas. And you say that this is one
> of your more "fruitful possibilities"? To me it looks like you
> are building upon quicksand--not a good foundation for a solid
I suggest you read the primary sources yourself and evaluate
this. To me it looks like you are inclined to dismiss even the
more solid evidence as quicksand.
And again tying together "master of ceremonies"
"Chief of the Archive-Registrars" Sengchen Tulku his successor
and "a friend of the TS" does not add up to one person. It adds
up to three candidates and two titles that may or may not belong
to the same person.
As for "reading the primary sources" I looked up your
references as I read you book. Whether these are truly the
"primary sources" I would have to look deeper into it to find
out. If I were to research this I would be in consultation with
someone who knows Tibetan culture and reads the language.
Rich Taylor interjects:
> Paul writes
> "First let
> me say that HPB doesn't use the word Master or Mahatma but
> calls the Sengchen the "Chohan Lama of Shigatse." Which is
> enough for me."
> Why is that enough for you?
Because I have only seen the word used by HPB and she uses it
to mean "Chief" exclusively in terms of a chief Theosophical
Master; e.g. the Chohan the Mahachohan.
Do you know what "Chohan" means? Do you know
> what language it is?
No do you? As for meaning I only know how HPB uses it.
Why does Chohan = Master of Wisdom in the Theosophical
1. HPB insists that her Masters' lodge is affiliated somehow
not just with Gelugpa Buddhism but with Tashilhunpo and the
Shigatse area in particular.
2. HPB calls her correspondent who as far as I can tell can
only be the Sengchen for reasons cited elsewhere the Chohan
Lama of Shigatse and refers to him as a high authority in
3. Whenever HPB uses Chohan or Mahachohan elsewhere she is
talking about her own Masters.
"Chohan" according to HPB is a Tibetan term meaning "Lord."
In the ~Theosophical Glossary~ she makes the term synonymous with
Dhyan Chohans chief of the Dhyanis which are not physical
beings. HPB likens them to Archangels. Therefore "Chohan Lama"
can simply mean Chief Lama.
Mahachohan on the other hand according to HPB is the
Chief of a spiritual Hierarchy or of a school of occultism or
the head of the "trans-Himalayan Mystics" she means Masters
here. Purucker comments somewhere that the Mahachohan is not
even a physical being.
Therefore I would submit that whenever HPB's uses the word
"Chohan" she is not necessarily talking about Masters and in
this case she probably only means "Chief Lama."
> Hey gang--
> This week will be the last that I respond to any questions on
> the list about my Theosophical books.
> Sorry to hear that. I felt that we were just getting
Every moment of time and bit of energy spent on the past is
time and energy stolen from the future. Seriously
understanding Cayce is going to be a full-time job for the next
couple of years. While Theosophy certainly has a role to play
in that going back over issues in my Theosophical books
doesn't. Of course if my proposal doesn't fly this will not
be a factor.
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